Automotive Companion Apps: Connecting with Consumers Through Their “Other” Mobile Device

Automotive World recently published a Xevo commentary on the many opportunities and benefits of automotive companion apps – smartphone apps that allow consumers’ cell phones to communicate with and enable a varying set of features in their vehicles through mobile device connectivity. This piece offered Xevo an opportunity to share our expertise, our vision for automotive apps and their important role in the automotive ecosystem, and the ways we can help industry decision makers improve their companion apps and strategies.

Most automobile OEMs offer an automotive app, but many of the phone companion apps currently on the market provide limited features. Recent consumer research commissioned by Xevo shows that OEMs have the opportunity to dramatically increase brand loyalty and improve customer satisfaction with feature-rich connected car devices. The 700 drivers we surveyed identified many current or potential vehicle companion app features they would enjoy having, and that could positively impact their daily lives.

Below is an excerpt from the Automotive World article, discussing some of the products and features consumers would like to see in their vehicle companion apps.

“With the latest generation of companion apps, being locked out of the car should be a thing of the past. Apps can give consumers the ability to securely control certain features of their cars even if they are not near the vehicle, such as locking or unlocking the car, climate controls, or using the vehicle location tracker to remind them where their car is parked. Nearly 70% of survey respondents rated remote capabilities as a feature they would like to have in their automotive app.

Companion apps can also assist with vehicle upkeep by monitoring vehicle health and performance to offer maintenance reminders, schedule service appointments, and alert the owner to recall notices…

Apps can allow [a teenage driver’s] parents to be notified if the vehicle exceeds a certain speed, receive alerts about rapid acceleration or hard braking, and set curfews and ‘designated area’ boundaries for vehicle use. And if the app detects distracted-driving behavior, such as talking on the phone or texting, it can remind the driver to re-focus their attention to the road….90% of survey respondents with a teen driver at home indicated they would be interested in [collision detection], with 50% finding it ‘extremely useful.’

Almost 70% of survey participants are interested in the possibility of reducing their car insurance premiums via their automotive companion apps. …The apps use information [about a driver’s habits] to rate the safety of their driving and share that rating with insurance companies, creating the potential for drivers to receive lower insurance rates.

Automotive companion apps could even simplify tracking business use of a vehicle for expense reports and IRS filings – 83% of respondents who use their vehicle for business rated that option as ‘useful.’”

Vehicle companion apps benefit both automotive manufacturers and consumers, improving consumers’ daily lives while helping OEMs to deliver useful products and deepen customer loyalty.

Automotive World subscribers can read the full article here.

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